By Sileny

Summary: He couldn't believe it. Everything he did, everything he said, everything he tried to be… in the end it was all in vain. Because all Wataru had to do was prance in and she was swept off her feet. By the wrong person.
I choose you, common sense! :D

Silver could not believe it.

Surely his eyes were playing tricks on him. Perhaps he should have followed Joi-san's advice and slept a little longer the night before.

His ears must have deceived him. Maybe he was beginning to get a bit sick; there were plenty of other Trainers sick with the flu at the Center the day before when he checked in with his tired team.

Silver was most certainly not looking at Kotone, who was giggling like a little schoolgirl as she trotted along at Wataru's side, both arms linked around one of his as they walked, she talking excitedly about her Pokémon and her travels, he listening attentively with several interjections every once in a while. Silver was definitely not thinking about all of the different possible ways he could murder the previous Johto Champion, each one more gruesome and torturous than the one before.

And Silver's chest was not (not, he repeats to himself, in a sad attempt at concealing his true feelings) tightening painfully until it felt his lungs were being squeezed by the unrelenting hands of a Kairikie and his heart would break right through his rib cage and land in a broken mess on the pavement in front of him.

It was not.

But it certainly felt like it was.

"I want a battle!" Silver announced. Kotone's head turns so that the girl can give her rival her full attention. Doe-brown eyes regard him curiously and he has to clench his hands tightly into fists, nails digging into his palms and giving him a tiny jolt of pain, reminding himself to refrain from doing anything stupid.

"I've gotten a lot stronger," he says hotly, offering reason behind his challenge. "So this time, I expect to properly show you how strong we've become." But really, she should know this by now. It wasn't like he ever showed up with a different reason when popping up into her life to challenge her to those sporadic battles that soon became the main cause of his existence, the sole thing that he looked forward to, if only to see her with all of her attention focused on him.

Him and only him.

Kotone stands, stroking Meganium gently on the head. Silver's own Bakufun flares up it fiery collar, staring at the Herb Pokémon with a challenge in its fierce eyes. "Okay!" Kotone agrees, in that wonderfully cheerful (and cute, Silver's mind chimes in like the traitor it was) voice. "Full battle? Or just three-on-three?"

"Full," he announces, because if it was a three-on-three than he wouldn't be able to have her all to himself for as long as he wanted. Of course, he doesn't say that, instead hiding behind his excuse of, "How can I show you the true extent of our strength if it's just a three-on-three."

Kotone agrees, fishing out a Pokéball, although she smiles slightly to herself. That was the first time she had heard him refer to him and his team with 'our.' She felt oddly proud, like a parent who had an extraordinary child. "Then let's get started," she states, getting excited, because this was a battle, and what wasn't there to be excited about in a good battle? "Let's go, Kyukon!" From the small ball that she throws, a beautiful silver fox explodes, nine tails waving elegantly behind it, red eyes glowing with anticipation for the battle that it was being called out for. The Shiny Kyukon lets out a happy yip before crouching down, tails waving in a 'come on!' gesture.

Silver calls out his Gangar shortly after, and the Gas Pokémon bounces cheerily in front of him, pulling a comical face at Kotone and her Kyukon (Kotone giggles at this, and Silver, cheeks flushed a red that rivaled his hair, tells Gangar to settle down and behave).

The battle is over in an hour. Kotone is more than impressed as she calls her Meganium back to her and her Starter trots over, exhausted from its battle with Silver's annoyingly persistent Bakufun but pleased that it had finally pulled out a win. Silver calls back his Bakufun to its ball, looking at it with an expression that was a mixture of satisfaction, disappointment, and 'maybe we need a bit more training.' "You're really getting strong," Kotone says, returning Meganium to its ball as well where it would get some well-deserved rest. "It's evident from the way you battle. You'll only get stronger from now on."

'But you'll never beat me, since I'll be training hard, too,' is the unspoken little tease as she holds out her hand. Silver grasps it after a moment of hesitation and she shakes it cheerily.

"We should get together and have another battle sometime in the future," she chirps, and Silver nods. Kotone removes her hand from his and starts walking towards the Pokémon Center, talking cheerily to him as he followed a half-pace behind her. He doesn't say anything except for the occasional 'yeah,' 'maybe,' 'that's true,' or the like.

They had given Nurse Joi their Pokémon to be treated when Silver turns to fully face Kotone, frowning slightly. Kotone lowers her soda, looking up at him from where she sat on a bench. It's evident that he wants to say something; Kotone bites back the 'What's wrong?' that's on the tip of her tongue and waits for him to speak.

"Kotone," Silver says finally, and he looks unsure of himself, like a shy little boy. "You know how I used to think of Pokémon as only tools that could be used for revenge by humans?" Kotone nods, sensing that whatever Silver wants to talk about was serious. "Well… after meeting you and having lots of battles, I've come to realize that that's not the case." The more he speaks, the more flustered he gets.

Kotone can't help but think that it's a little cute, watching the usually stoic boy turn red with embarrassment.

"And…" he stutters, somehow still managing to form semi-articulate phrases. "I've come to realize that… I actually—"

Kotone's PokéGear suddenly rings, startling both of them. Kotone flashes him an apologetic smile before answering it, although Silver notes how her face lights up when she sees the Caller ID. Perhaps it was her mother…?

"Wataru-san!" Kotone greets happily into the phone. "It's great to hear from you! Where are you now? Really? What a coincident; I happen to be at Route 32 as well. Oh, no… please don't go through the bother of coming all the way to the Pokémon Center. I'm sure I can find you based on the description you gave. Yep! I'll see you in a few minutes!" She hangs up, looking happily at the PokéGear before standing. "I'm sorry, Silver," she says, "But Wataru-san just called and—"

He shrugs nonchalantly, hands sliding into his pockets. "Go ahead. I'm not holding you back," he drawls, and she grins at him, retrieving her Pokémon from the kind nurse and then running out into the night.

Silver is left alone in the Center, hands in his pockets as he slumps tiredly against one of the support pillars. His silver eyes close as he sighs, lowering his head so that he can stare at the ground. He gives a nod of thanks as Nurse Joi sets his Pokéballs down on the table next to him, and Kurobatto lets itself out of the ball to perch on his head, sensing his Trainer's silent despair.

Brushed off, cast aside, all in favor of that ex-Champion. Silver's jaw tightens as he hears Kurobatto chitter quietly in an attempt to soothe him, but the boy ignores the bat's attempts (although a small part of him warms up to know that his Pokémon cared). It was clear to him, painfully clear. No matter how much he worked, no matter how hard he tried or how much he changed… he was nothing.

Nothing when compared to Wataru.

At least, not to Kotone.

Kotone notices him when she pauses to consider a particular store. Her face lights up and her lips instinctively twitch into a smile as she waves, calling, "Silver! Silver! How are you?" even though they are quite a ways apart. Wataru looks at Kotone with undisguised amusement, and Silver is seized with the desire to turn around and run.

He wants to run until he can't run anymore, run far, far away until he can no longer see the two of them, blissfully unaware of anything around them because they are so caught up in their own small sphere of happiness.

Kurobatto flutters quietly by his head while Bakufun glares at the two of them. Both Pokémon follow Silver as the boy turns sharply on his heel and stalks off, slipping into the crowd, his back to Kotone as he walks away.

He walks to the city gates, and then he breaks out into a run. Bakufun and Kurobatto don't question his sudden change of pace. Instead, they streak after him, keeping steadily next to him. They understand; this was a loss. They know that expression on Silver's face.

But even though Silver lost to Kotone every single time they battled, Silver's expression soon changed when his resolve to work harder returned. This time, though, both Kurobatto and Bakufun understand that that wasn't going to be the case. The two of them put on an extra burst of speed and zip in front of Silver; the boy doesn't even notice and rams himself headfirst into Bakufun. Kurobatto settles on his shoulder as Silver lets out a tired sigh.

"Damn it," the boy mutters, looking so lost and broken that his Pokémon want to march right back to the city and beat Wataru to a bloody pulp. "I've really lost this time.


Silver's heart was obviously not shattered into a thousand different pieces with no way of repairing it. That was silly.

But it certainly felt like it.

Kotone: Lyra
Wataru: Lance

Joi: Nurse Joy
Kairikie: Machamp
Meganium: Meganium
Bakufun: Typhlosion
Kyukon: Ninetails
Gangar: Gengar
Kurobatto: Crobat

A/N: My computer crashed completely on me last night. My hard drive is as good as dead, and on inventory check I lost about five years' worth of work with the crash. Which makes me sadder than you can even begin to imagine. So of course I need to write something that reflects my crappy mood, and since KotoneRival is my OTP with Ikarishipping, I just had to do something with poor Silver.

God, I hate my life right now. That computer's gone through freezes and crashes and broken monitors and faulty modems, and now the hard drive just decides to die on me? *whimper sniffle sob* WHY? We've been through so much! *okay... self-pitying rant done*

I chose Crobat and Typhlosion to focus on from Silver's team because they seem to be the Pokemon who would have the closest relationship with their Trainer (Silver). Since Silver obtained Typhlosion when it was still a young Cyndaquil, most of its experiences will be with Silver and thus it will form a strong bond with him. Crobat is an obvious choice, since for Golbat to evolve into Crobat, it has to be happiest when with the Trainer. That's why I depicted the two of them as the ones being with Silver when he's running and wanting to go back and destroy Lance for making their Silver so miserable.